Skywatching: Double Meteor Shower To Grace The Skies This Week


Two meteor showers are going to grace the skies this week, as the Delta Aquariids and Alpha Capricornids are both set to peak this week. The double meteor shower concludes an excellent month of sky watching and sets the stage for another great one.

July was certainly a good month for sky watching, with the penumbral lunar eclipse and comet NEOWISE thrilling sky watchers around the globe. Although the stunning comet is already fading as it moves back toward the outer solar system, the month of sky watching is still not over as two meteor showers are set to grace the skies this week.

Specifically, the Delta Aquariids and the Alpha Capricornids are currently active, with the former being active from July 12 to Aug. 23 and the latter being active from July 3 to Aug. 15. According to the American Meteor Society (AMS), both meteor showers are set to peak on July 28-29 evening.

During the peak, the Moon will just be about 66% full, so, weather permitting, eager sky watchers may catch a glimpse of the meteor showers. Although meteors from the Delta Aquariids are said to be faint and lack persistent trains, under ideal conditions, skywatchers may still get to see about 10 to 20 Delta Aquariid meteors per hour as they appear to streak away from the Aquarius constellation.

As for the Alpha Capricornids shower, it is considered to not be very strong as it produces only about five meteor shower members per hour but it does produce bright fireballs.

“What is notable about this shower is the number of bright fireballs produced during its activity period,” the AMS said in its meteor shower calendar. What’s more, the Alpha Capricornids are also equally visible in both the north and south of the equator, whereas the Delta Aquariids are best seen in the southern tropics.

The best viewing hours for the meteor showers are after midnight and before sunrise, in locations that have clear views of the sky and are not polluted with artificial light. This ideal viewing period goes for all time zones in the world.

Lying flat on your back and looking up into the sky, it will take less than 30 minutes for the eyes to adjust to the darkness and begin to see the meteors. 

Those who will miss the double meteor shower need not fret because the Perseids, considered to be the best and most popular meteor shower, will peak soon from Aug. 11 to 13. That stunning meteor shower is expected to yield 50 or more meteors per hour.


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